Building relationships is the foundation of any working practice. Whether you are manufacturing in a smaller business or you’ve gradually built up your company over the years, understanding how to work effectively with others and imbue a great relationship is crucial across every aspect of the business. Working with your supplier is one of those relationships that can be neglected. Every supplier is different and working to develop a strong relationship can prove tricky on occasion. But what can we do to nurture an excellent supplier relationship?
Understand Your Supplier
You understand what you need and this means that you find a supplier of a specific service or raw material. But this is only one piece of the puzzle. When you are working with a supplier that provides a specific service with relation to a niche material, whether this is metal manufacturing or contracting of a very specific nature, you have to understand your supplier’s business position. If you look at something like the Naimor Inc. website, a company that fabricates metal, you can see that there are different approaches which means that you aren’t the only company they trade with. It’s important for you to look at the mission and the purpose. But you also need to see how they operate. Once you start to get a better understanding of your suppliers you can align your business needs with theirs so you can both grow.
Communication is crucial and you’ll need to provide transparency in every aspect but you have to be mindful that it’s not just about having the right tools in place for your needs. When you communicate with another business you’ve got to be careful of the cultural differences. We live in a globalized world which means that we’ve got to focus on building bridges with suppliers from different cultural backgrounds. Building a good rapport isn’t always easy. Look at the culture of a specific country in relation to its industry. Countries in the Far East, like China, focus on building personal relationships over business ones. It’s these little things that will help you to communicate well but also develop a proper relationship.
Transparency and honesty are essential when there are differences of opinion. But if the relationship is built on dishonesty it’s more difficult to manage the situations when there are disagreements. Much like any personal relationship, working with the supplier effectively requires honesty when there are problems in the supply chain. If you can address these situations with honesty and transparency, you will find an appropriate solution.
What Can You Do For Them?
It’s not a one-sided approach. It’s important that we set an example of how we want to be treated by treating the supplier in the same way. We may expect everything from a supplier from low prices to prompt communication but if we want to have an amazing supplier we’ve got to lead by example.
You must remember that effective relationships with suppliers are all about the human components. We can easily hide behind our emails. But if you want an efficient relationship with your supplier that stands the test of time, focus on the human approach.